Now stomp your left and drag yo’ right: 1-175th’s joint training
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Now stomp your left and drag yo’ right: 1-175th’s joint training

Video by 1st Lt. Benjamin Hughes, State Partnership Program

Article and illustrative photography by Maj. Jon Preteroti, 1-175th Infantry Regiment

Maryland National Guard soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment trained with more than 200 international service members from the Estonian Defence League, Estonian Police and Border Guard, and military units from several neighboring countries including Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland in Tallinn, Estonia, June 1-13, 2017. The training focused on civil disturbance operations and included riot control, shield use and formations, baton strikes, traffic control points, and vehicle and personnel searches.

The headquarters of the 1-175th also conducted classes with the Estonian Defence League’s regional and district leadership on planning, preparation, and conducting civil disturbance and emergency response operations. The soldiers incorporated real world experiences from when they activated in response to the unrest in Baltimore in 2015.

Training culminated with Exercise Hunt; which involved more than 700 personnel from seven separate nations and provided the Estonian Defence League with an opportunity to practice their civil disturbance, base defense, and direct action capabilities. 

During the exercise, the Maryland soldiers provided controllers to ensure safety during the exercise and offered feedback at the conclusion of training.

“This training has been an outstanding opportunity for the Maryland National Guard to showcase our emergency response capabilities with Estonia and learn from one another,” said Maj. John W. McDaniel, Jr., commander of the 1-175th Inf. Regt. 

Soldiers from the 1-175th were also able to explore the culture of Estonia. Lt. Col. Toomas Vali, Estonian Defence League, hosted a guided tour of the Old Town in Tallinn. The tour provided the soldiers with an understanding of the city and the country, which included historical facts about settlements, occupations, and independence.

Soldiers also completed specialized training. They conducted wetlands survival and recovery training and weapons familiarization with the Estonian Defence League. 

Maj. Gen. John L. Gronski, the Deputy Commanding General for Army National Guard, U.S. Army Europe, visited during the training. Gronski discussed the significance of what U.S. soldiers were doing in Europe, recognized several of the soldiers for their contributions, and presided over a noncommissioned officer’s promotion ceremony.